Beyond the Pandemic: Opportunities for Design and Innovation in the Education Sector

How the COVID-19 pandemic opens opportunities for entrepreneurs in education

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted education as we knew it. The interruption of schooling worldwide with imposed lockdown restrictions has been eye-opening at the very least; with parents working from home, the public has recognized more of the caretaking role that schools have on our children. We are increasingly grateful for teachers and social workers by realizing the labor that goes into shaping minds, which almost always includes the process of shaping hearts.

But despite the negative impact that the pandemic has had, this dire situation opens immense opportunities for entrepreneurs to design products and services within the education industry. With the accelerated education inequality and the growing awareness of the needs of students outside of academic resources, the market for educational products and services has grown exponentially, inviting entrepreneurs to take part in providing them.

“It takes a village…”

Efforts towards developing “holistic” children have redistributed the labor of instruction, shifting the work of “teaching” to parents, guardians and in some cases, domestic helps. This has widened the market for educational resources, with the demand rising for products that assist parents to navigate the shifting needs of their children.

Wider gaps in education access and quality

Today, the academic development of children depends largely on parents being able to provide additional academic support to their children in the form of tutoring and online resources, setting apart children whose parents have the financial capacity (or even general awareness!)to do so. This has caused many to slip through the cracks, particularly if they come from lower-income families. Parents’ capacity to provide basic needs and hands-on support varies from child to child, widening the gap between students who have managed to thrive in the middle of the pandemic and those who have not.

Where do we go from here?

Entrepreneurs should also think outside the box when it comes to the end-user for which their educational products and services are designed. While centered on the student, the growing needs of parents, teachers, social workers, and guardians cannot be ignored. Education in the eyes of the entrepreneur ought not to limit itself to the academic needs of children, but also the varied pain points of other stakeholders involved. For instance, the rise of more conscious parents has resulted in the demand for resources that enable parents to instill values such as empathy, resilience, social consciousness, and grit among their children, despite their busy schedules. An opportunity exists in providing a product, for instance, that caters specifically to equipping working parents to instill these values to their children, in a time-efficient manner.

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Education is changing rapidly, opening more chances for entrepreneurs willing to creatively provide resources at scale. All in all, opportunities exist for businesses in the space, provided that entrepreneurs are willing to constantly think outside of the box.

Educator. Founder at The Learners’ Club. Harvard ‘19